FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The COVID-19 vaccine is helping to bring back a sense of normalcy for many, but the cruse industry is far from making a comeback.
Even before stepping onto a cruise ship, passengers at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale can see vending machines that dispense face masks.
That’s just part of the new reality at Port Everglades, where social distancing reminders and spacing markers will remain up indefinitely.
Large scale cruise passengers have been missing from these terminals for nearly a year, though.
“Ultimately we do anticipate that there will be some level of sailing with revenue cruises that will occur hopefully starting this summer or into the early fall,” said Port Everglades CEO Jonathan Daniels.
On Tuesday Daniels explained that he’s been in touch with the operators of the major cruise lines who bring in roughly 4,000,000 passengers a year through the port alone.
One thing is for certain, and that is cruising will be different industrywide when sailings resume, even with a growing number of people being inoculated against COVID-19.
“Now that we do have the vaccinations occurring, we do anticipate a combination of testing and vaccination in one way or another, and there are some smaller cruise lines in other parts of the world that are already stipulating in order for you to cruise, its 100% vaccination,” Daniels said.
That process would likely be appointment based to coincide with travel plans.
The CDC will eventually give the green light for cruise companies to return to service if they can adapt to a series of onboard safety protocols, like how to deal with a passenger sickened with the coronavirus.
“It’s everything from putting in isolation rooms to medical facilities to the types of agreements they will have to have with lodging establishments,” said Daniels.